(Happy to Be) Stuck With Him
When we think of Huey Lewis and the News, we think of developmentally disabled adults. Our own Bouncer columnist Katy St. Clair immortalized the link between the 1980s hitmakers and their special fans in 2005, in a piece of writing (“A Very Special Concert”) that is deeply moving, sort of goofy, and will make you cry if you lose focus. Just like the music of HLatN! Popular since their third record, Sports, came out in 1983, the band is durably constructed and extremely good-natured, and you would be, too, if you had churned out mega hits for nearly 10 years. Because lead singer Lewis lives in San Francisco part time, we can count him as one of our own, whether anyone counts us as disabled or not.
The Paul Thorn Band opens for Huey and the boys as the opening event of the Stern Grove Festival at 2 p.m. at Stern Grove, 19th Ave. and Sloat, S.F. Admission is free; visit www.sterngrove.org. --Hiya Swanhuyser
Go to a Good School
We have to face it at some point: Most of the really interesting people we went to high school with wound up at the California Institute for the Arts. At “CalArtsSF,” a slew of local artists brag about having attended their high-quality alma mater. We are jealous! Because they went to this particular prestigious creative training center, they are all good at whatever they do, whether it’s performance art, videography, graphic design, or some cool new hybrid art form. Showoffs. They think they’re so great. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who went to state schools. But they’re right, they are great: Gamelan X, the dancers of Lisa Townsend Company, speaker of words Mark Sikes, and choreographer Danny Nguyen are all top-shelf. They join visual artists, theater folk, filmmakers, and more at this exhibit, a “cross-section of the imaginative work that has earned CalArts its reputation.”
“CalArtsSF” starts today at 3 p.m. (also Saturday) at the Cowell Theater, Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason, S.F. Admission is free; call 441-3400 or visit www.fortmason.org. --Hiya Swanhuyser
Getting All Folked Up
Once upon a time, folk music was dorky. A torch carried only by middle-aged diehards from the ´60s and ´70s revivals, the genre was considered passé. But magically, those gray heads have recently become hip again, many for the second time in their lives -- we’re thinking of Vashti Bunyan, a woman whose advanced years don’t stop indie megastar Sufjan Stevens from openly worshipping her. She won’t be at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival, but this 31st annual party (do the math -- the first one was in the awesome year of 1976) does feature blues-inspired, acoustic, and international music, as it always has. You could discover your own local Vashti! Or just enjoy the “elegant strathspeys” of the Dunsmuir Scottish Country dancers, Moh Alilech’s Algerian songs, or the gypsy rock of invading hipsters Karpov.
The San Francisco Free Folk Festival starts at noon (also Saturday) at City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan (at Ocean), S.F. Admission is free; visit www.sffolkfest.org. --Hiya Swanhuyser
Mozzarella Cheese Incident
Although the wharf became a Las Vegas version of itself years ago, North Beach still hangs onto its authenticity, despite (or because of?) the myriad limp Italian restaurants lining Columbus like carnival attractions. Sure, tourists eat that stuff up, but at least they're not doing so under the awning of a CPK. Anyway, the place still has assorted pleasures: Strippers, Ferlinghetti, Italians who speak Italian, Golden Boy Pizza, parrots, that trippy map store, and the North Beach Festival are but a few highlights.
Enjoy that last one this weekend, with live jazz, blues, and cover bands Zoo Station and The Unauthorized Rolling Stones (sure, those bands aren't authentic, but they're only slightly less so than the originals by now). It starts at 10 a.m. at and around Washington Square Park, Columbus & Union, S.F. Admission is free; call 989-2220 or visit www.northbeachfestival.com. --Michael Leaverton